Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

Lacey as she is now, in one of several photographs featured in Rescue Me. (Leanne Peniuk photo)

BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

To say Lacey was in rough shape when she was rescued from a Surrey property five years ago would be an understatement.

The blue-eyed palomino paint yearling was gaunt, with skinny limbs, overgrown hooves and a fear of everything, even a blanket.

Fortunately, to say she’s doing alright these days is also an understatement.

“She looks amazing now, it’s hard to believe that it’s the same pony,” said Lacey’s ‘mom,’ Kathy Gilleran.

“She’s the most loving and affectionate and trusting pony you could imagine. That’s kind of what blew my mind with her.”

Lacey, believed to be between six and eight years old now, was among nearly five dozen animals that were seized by the SPCA during a cruelty investigation in August, 2015.

READ MORE: 57 animals seized in ‘disgusting’ case of neglect

They had been kept without proper access to water, food or shelter; conditions that a senior animal protection worker described as “disgusting.”

Unfortunately, the seizure was not the first that the BC SPCA has dealt with involving horses, nor was it the last. Most recently, 27 horses were among nearly 100 animals seized by cruelty-investigation officers in late September from a farm near Princeton.

In each case, extensive – and expensive – efforts are taken to treat, rehabilitate and rehome all of them.

And while for some, the story does not have a happy ending despite best efforts, many others, matched with the love and attention every creature deserves, go on to thrive.

It is these stories of hope, perseverance and survival that inspired Kamloops photographer Leanne Peniuk to do what she could to help.

Peniuk began a quest last spring to capture the “happily-ever-after stories” for a book that would be sold to raise funds for the BC SPCA’s equine division.

Rescue Me – published earlier this month – is a coffee-table-style book that shares the stories of 25 horses, including Lacey, that have been rescued by the BC SPCA and successfully rehomed.

Every year, the BC SPCA seizes between 50 and 100 horses from unhealthy situations. In some cases, the animals have been intentionally harmed; in others, the skin, respiratory, digestive or other ailments they are found to be suffering with have resulted from a lack of understanding or education around their required care, or a lack of the finances to properly provide it.

In her five years as manager of the BC SPCA’s equine division, Leiki Salumets has seen all of the above. As well, the cases where someone who acquired a horse for a specific purpose such as competing, then didn’t want the expense of caring for them after those ‘useful’ days came to an end.

“When I’m at work, I sort of compartmentalize a little bit, so that I can just be professional and get through my day,” Salumets said. “If you let the emotions in… I would probably be crying all day.

“I have a window out of my office that looks into the first stall (of the SPCA’s Good Shepherd barn) and there’s an underdeveloped, skinny horse standing in front of me, and to know that that horse could turn out like Lacey just keeps you going – knowing that there’s good things on the horizon.”

Proceeds from the sale of Rescue Me – the first run of 500 copies will translate to around $16,000 – are earmarked to support the care and rehabilitation of the Princeton rescues.

Publisher Jill Veitch – who grew up in South Surrey’s Crescent Heights neighbourhood but now calls Kelowna home – described the team effort and determination to pull the book together as “heartwarming.”

“Everybody has a passion for it,” she added.

The book, edited by Langley’s Martina Montgomerie, hit the (online) shelves on Nov. 6 ($55, available at www.leannepeniukphotography.ca/rescue-me), and the sale of each one is enough to care and feed a rescue horse for one day, she said.

“It’s kinda neat when you can know that your money (helps),” Veitch said.

The book also include insights from Salumets and a prominent foster caregiver, as well as some information on the process that surrounds an SPCA seizure.

“We tried to make it as complete a picture (as possible),” Peniuk said. “To really use it as a tool.”

Peniuk – who, like all involved in Rescue Me, has had a passion for horses for as long as she can remember – said even though the book is finished, it’s noted as ‘Volume 1: Humans Saving Horses’ for a reason: there is another chapter yet to come.

“Next year, I want to work – this is basically the yin and yang project – on horses saving humans,” she said, explaining that she will be looking to tell the stories of people for whom horses have had a healing effect.

Among so many other things, horses – given the chance – can teach about perseverance, patience, resilience, confidence, relationships and trust.

“We save horses, but horses also save us,” Peniuk said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCSPCASurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

SPCA Animal Protection Officer Leanne Thomson stands with Lacey shortly after she was seized from a Cloverdale property during an August 2015 cruelty investigation. (Evan Seal photo)

SPCA Animal Protection Officer Leanne Thomson stands with Lacey shortly after she was seized from a Cloverdale property during an August 2015 cruelty investigation. (Evan Seal photo)

Just Posted

An Amica White Rock resident receives the COVID-19 vaccine during a Jan. 15, 2021 clinic. (Tracy Holmes photo)
PHOTOS: South Surrey seniors grateful for ‘freedom’ of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinics at Fraser Health long-term and assisted-living sites were to wrap up Jan. 15

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Friends and family of murder victim Paul Prestbakmo wore memorial masks outside Surrey Provincial Court Jan. 14, 2021. (From left) Family friend Tyler Whitley, sister Angela Prestbakmo, childhood friend Jimmy Slater, brother Steve Prestbakmo, Semiahmoo First Nation councillor Roxanne Charles and sister Liz Prestbakmo. (Tracy Holmes photo)
Two accused in 2019 South Surrey murder were ‘really angry,’ pacing at party: witness

‘We had this really strong gut feeling that something was really wrong’

Semiahmoo Rock
Record-setting 10 Semiahmoo Rock players selected in B.C. junior lacrosse draft

Kaleb Borg is the highest Rock player selected, going in the second round to the Coquitlam Adanacs

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read